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Bloggers Unite: Project IF (Part Two)

342 participants.

Over 500 “what ifs” taken out of people’s hearts and placed on the screen.

It’s a toss-up: it’s incredibly powerful to read the list (and it is still a live and growing list) in one sitting, soaking in all of those huge emotions.  It will change you.  And at the same time, it is so hard to see all of those fears–some of which feel very familiar; some of which are outside my realm of experience–laid bare on the screen.

If someone wants to understand the emotional side of infertility, we just created a very easy door for them to walk through.

Resolve and I started to notice trends (you know…common threads), and we used these trends to determine the What If  lists for this part of the project.  We needed to pick a wide-range of experiences and make sure the “what ifs” were broad enough for a multitude of people to be able to participate.  Even still, we decided to leave an open “what if” question at the end of each category.  If you cannot find a what if below that speaks to your experience, or you are tied to exploring the “what if” you submitted, please take this opportunity to fit your “what if” onto the list (or tweak an existing one).

The second part of this project is simple, and it gives you an easy way to participate in National Infertility Awareness Week (April 24th–May 1st):

  1. Choose one “what if” from the categories below (you may tweak one to fit you better or use the open option at the bottom of each category to state a what if that falls within the boundaries of the category).
  2. Go back to your blog and explore that “what if” in a post.  Expand on the idea, tell a story, write poetry, say it with photographs–any way you want to explore that “what if.”  Posts can go up any time between now and May 1st.  Please start your post by placing your chosen “what if” at the top of the post.
  3. Add a link at the bottom of your post to this url giving a basic understanding of infertility: www.resolve.org/infertility101 and this url giving the background of National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW): www.resolve.org/takecharge.* You may also want to point people towards the original “what if” list: http://www.stirrup-queens.com/2010/04/bloggers-unite-project-if/.
  4. End your post with a new, positive “what if“–a best-case-scenario for you personally.  What you hope to see happen–either for yourself or for someone else.
  5. Return here and add a permalink to your post to the Mr. Linky widget at the bottom of this post.  It will then appear as part of this project and all blogs on the list will be considered for Resolve’s Hope Award for Best Blog, presented at the 2010 Night of Hope.  Resolve will also be featuring a link to the blog on Resolve.org.

*This is important because while the first part of this project was fairly insular, read by those within the community, the second part of this project–your blog posts–will be read by a wide range of people including possibly those in law-making positions or the media.  Because they may be reading your post without a basic understanding of infertility or National Infertility Awareness Week, we want to give everyone a quick way to read more.

Even if you didn’t participate in the first part of this project, you are welcome (and encouraged!) to participate now.  Our goal is to get at least 250 participants by the time NIAW ends next week on May 1st.

You do not need to be infertile to participate.  If you want to support a friend or family member and explain how you process one of these “what ifs,” we’d love to have you join the project.

If you don’t have a blog, get creative with your Twitter account, use your Facebook page, or…start a blog (and then send me your blog url so I can add you to the blogroll)!  Blogger and WordPress are both sites that allow people (quite easily) to set up a free blog.  Only blogs written by individuals (not organizations or professionals) will be considered for Resolve’s Hope Award for Best Blog, though any linkable writing (such as a Tweet) can be added to Mr. Linky.

Please help spread word about this project via Twitter, Facebook, or your blog.  Our hashtag is #Project IF.

And make sure you come back and read the posts as they go up on Mr. Linky.  If the “what ifs” themselves were that powerful, I can hardly imagine what can be accomplished with even more words and stories.

Categories and Ideas:

How infertility impacts your relationships—spouse, partner, fertile friends, parents, work.

  • What if despite my ultimate success I never let go of the resentment at and jealousy of the women who got to do this the “normal” way and who never experienced pregnancy loss (from Betty M).
  • What if I can never be around a pregnant woman and feel comfortable because it reminds me of how much I have lost and how inadequate I now feel (from Jodi)?
  • What if my husband leaves me for a fertile woman (from Mad Hatter)?
  • Create Your Own.

How infertility impacts your self-esteem.

  • What if I always feel like less of a person because I wasn’t able to reproduce (from Brandy)?
  • What if I can never get over the feeling that my body has failed me (from Staciet)?
  • What if I lose myself along the way? I’ve lost so much during this roller coaster journey — what if I lose the true me somewhere along the road? What if I turn into someone I never wanted to be? What happens then (from JL)?
  • What if my infertility has robbed me of my sexiness and I never am “in the mood” again (from Nolagirl)?
  • Create Your Own.

How infertility impacts your emotional health.

  • What if I am never able to counter the thought “I had to buy a baby?” What if that doesn’t make me a real mother, in my eyes, or in anyone else’s (from Cherry)?
  • What if I can never just be happy with what I have and stop being angry, bitter, and sad about what I do not (from Cathy)?
  • What if I have to learn to live childfree with a smile….forever (from Mrs. A)?
  • Create Your Own.

How infertility impacts your finances.

  • What if every state passed a law that would require insurance companies to cover fertility treatments and A.R.T. so that people like me and my husband wouldn’t have to choose between their mortgage or having a family (from Melissa G)?
  • What if I leave this job, with its amazing health insurance that covers everything IF-related, and my new job doesn’t have insurance with good IF coverage (from Queenie)?
  • What if we finally save the money we need, blow it on IVF, and fail (from Wifey)?
  • Create Your Own.

How infertility impacted your “plans”/current choices/future decisions.

  • What if I didn’t live in a time and place where ART was an option (from it is what it is)?
  • What if I never get to do all the things I’ve put on hold in my life for “once I get pregnant…” (from CortneyTree)?
  • What if I never see that plus sign? What if this is it, waiting and hoping for the rest of my life (from Hollytraveling)?
  • What if my son ends up hating me because he was conceived through DI? What if all we’ve gone through to have him and to bring us so much happiness ends up bringing him enormous pain (from Annacylopedia)?
  • Create Your Own.

Project IF Participants

Exploring Our What Ifs

167 comments

1 susy { 04.21.10 at 8:11 am }

This is going to hard — hard to read and get through, when I get a knot in my throat from just reading the what if list! But I think it’s a great way to get awareness out there, especially w/ Resolve and NIAW!

2 Kaitlin { 04.21.10 at 9:34 am }

I agree – this will be tough. I’m not personally struggling with infertility and I even had a hard time getting through the what-ifs without getting goose bumps!

3 Miriam { 04.21.10 at 10:17 am }

Wow. I had an inkling of how this project might go into phase two, but I’m still not prepared for the rawness of the emotion this is going to bring up. How exciting Melissa- thanks so much for working with RESOLVE to help give the ALI community a voice and a face.
~Miriam (ICLW #1)

4 Nikki { 04.21.10 at 11:09 am }

This is a wonderful idea and I am so happy to have the opportunitiy to participate!

5 spyderkl { 04.21.10 at 11:40 am }

I thought I’d give this a try, since I could have written at least 2 of the What ifs. I’ll start writing and see how far I get. Thanks so much for doing this, Melissa.

6 Mrs. Gamgee { 04.21.10 at 12:32 pm }

As hard as this could be, I love this project Mel. I am eager to see how it plays out.

7 wifey { 04.21.10 at 12:46 pm }

working on my post now….. this is such a wonderful project.

8 Nolagirl { 04.21.10 at 1:14 pm }

I don’t have a blog. But I want to give a shout out to those that do. Your voices will help all of us! I plan on donating my Facebook status to my “What IF” of choice.

9 christine { 04.21.10 at 2:49 pm }

so thankful for this support! so thankful for this idea! and, so thankful to know I am not alone in my “what ifs”!

10 Lisa { 04.21.10 at 2:54 pm }

Glad I had the chance to participate. It was cathartic to write that out.

11 Fingers Crossed { 04.21.10 at 3:21 pm }

Wow – what an incredible idea! I am not classified as IF yet – but I am still dealing with struggles, I feel like I don’t belong anywhere just yet.

12 Katie { 04.21.10 at 3:49 pm }

This is an amazing idea, Mel. I am so glad I had the chance to write and share my what ifs. Thank you for all that you do for this community!

13 Cathy { 04.21.10 at 4:38 pm }

Thanks for doing this. It felt good to get some of that stuff out, since I usually let it fall to the wayside.

14 Melissa G. { 04.21.10 at 4:47 pm }

Mel I continue to be in awe of your visions and the community you cultivate.

I can’t wait to work on my post.

15 Busted Kate { 04.21.10 at 7:47 pm }

Hey Mel, I’m here all the time anyways but today its specifically for ICLW… happy ICLW!!

I will definitely be participating in this, its a great idea and I’m so glad you’re helping folks share. As always, you’re amazing!

16 Lynn { 04.21.10 at 8:49 pm }

Mel, this is such an awesome project! I will have to work on mine for a few days. I want to get it just right so that it really expresses exactly what I feel.

17 Calliope { 04.21.10 at 10:59 pm }

wow- I LOVE this project. It’s like a quilt of experiences. I knew immediately which “what if” spoke to me because as soon as I read it I started to cry. And oddly not just because it is a hard topic (because of course it is) but because it was a bit of a comfort to see that another woman had the same fear that I do.

18 Mad Hatter { 04.22.10 at 12:08 am }

Thank you, Mel, for taking all of our lonely, single voices and turning them into a choir.
Love,
Maddy

19 spyderkl { 04.22.10 at 11:47 am }

Well, it’s done. Thank you again for doing this, Mel. I’ve got to say this was one of the hardest posts I’ve ever written, but I’m glad I did.

20 Tami { 04.22.10 at 9:09 pm }

I wrote, it might not be the best, but I thought I would try to get involved. :)

21 Amanda { 04.22.10 at 10:00 pm }

Wow, when I started writing, it literally just started flowing out of me though I’m sure my isn’t as good as some others. *blush* Thanks for allowing me to participate though. Off to read other’s stories! :)

22 Shelli { 04.23.10 at 9:55 am }

Ironically, this project coincides with a personal breakthrough. Thank you Mel, for always working so hard to ensure our voices are heard. xo

23 Katie { 04.23.10 at 12:27 pm }

Writing this was so good for me on so many levels. I’m glad I’m participating.

24 Jessica { 04.23.10 at 2:22 pm }

This was tough, but worthwhile for my heart.

25 Laura { 04.23.10 at 6:45 pm }

This is the first time that I have posted and then made other people aware of my blog. It’s really the first time that I have out to words what I’m feeling about starting my journey to become a mom, thanks for creating this place to share!

26 StolenEggs { 04.23.10 at 9:28 pm }

I don’t know if anyone else will get anything out of what I wrote but there it is.

27 Rachel { 04.23.10 at 9:43 pm }

I’m not infertile, never tried to have kids. But this is something that people don’t usually know about unless they or someone they’re close to has gone through it. Or unless they’ve stumbled across a book or blog somewhere and gotten pulled into the story.

No, I haven’t been through this, but maybe I can help someone who is by pointing the way here. The more you know about a topic, the better you can deal with it (in yourself, a friend, family, coworker, who/wherever).

So that’s why I wrote my “if”.

28 Rebecca { 04.24.10 at 12:08 am }

Thank you for this project, it was great to release some of those feelings. I’ve enjoyed reading other Project IF posts & wow they are so powerful!

29 Jesi { 04.24.10 at 11:45 am }

I started with one blog and then had to start over. This project has made me shift my strategy with trying to defeat infertility. I want to come from a place of being empowered not from a place of being a victim and I didn’t “get it” until I did this, so thank you Mel…. I had a huge “A-HA” moment…. infertility better watch out, coz here I come!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

30 Christy { 04.24.10 at 12:43 pm }

I wish that I was a better writer but I tried to make the answer cohesive. This idea is awesome though!

31 luna { 04.24.10 at 2:50 pm }

what a wonderful project! thanks once again for bringing this community together, mel. my contribution is linked above: http://lifefromhere.wordpress.com/2010/04/24/what-if/

32 S.I.F. { 04.24.10 at 8:16 pm }

Writing that all out sucked the life out of me a bit… I think I’m going to be drained for a week….

33 Hollytraveling { 04.24.10 at 10:29 pm }

Thank you for the opportunity to do this. It will be amazing to read all of these stories. I’m sure I will shed many tears but I will come away feeling more hopeful and not alone than ever.

34 Kim { 04.25.10 at 12:30 am }

Thank you for hosting this….what a great way to have us all get involved. I appreciate the opportunity .

35 Half of a Duo, Raising a Duo { 04.25.10 at 11:23 am }

This is going to be easy for me. My What If would be this.

I will expand on this in my next blog entry. My last blog entry, a coblog entry with our potential birthmother, K, about our son who passed away 36 hours after birth, took so much out of me I can’t write right now.

But here is what I will write about. Thank you for provoking these thoughts in my head, that have already been brewing.

What if I had not had to depend on another woman, whose pain of giving up a child, was my gain and supposed joy. Note I wrote supposed joy. While I am joyful because after 2 decades I am finally a mother, at what cost was offset by pain of our surrogate? Or, had we adopted, the pain our potential birthmother may have experienced had little J still lived.

There is pain and if you truly are empathetic to the duality of alternative family building you cannot help but be haunted by this duality. Even though K and I co-blog and love each other, we both bear pain over his loss, and if little J were still living, who knows how K would feel down the road, with J and us together and she and her children watching and participating in our lives but perhaps not as fully as if she were parenting J. The same goes for our traditional surrogate.. Thanks Mel. Really you provoke a lot of thought for me to write on my blog so my kids know how I am thinking and feeling.

My first thought when the boys were born, due to the reaction of my surro and her DH was “What have we DONE?” (meaning, to hurt her, though the children are equally my DH’s and his biosons). I could not help but think that, as a compassionate woman. She was never a means to an end and neither was K.

I bet that blog entry will resonate to those who have had to resort to ED/adoption or traditional surrogacy or fost/adopt.

Hugs to you. I have gone through hell and back in the past 5 mos, stopped blogging but taken it back up with a vengeance, with you on my mind, and your grandma… your losses are our community’s losses, Mel.

The grey lady

36 Geochick { 04.25.10 at 11:04 pm }

Thanks for hosting this project. It’s therapeutic.

37 Pamela { 04.26.10 at 12:04 am }

Brilliant — so powerful…

38 Laura { 04.26.10 at 9:36 am }

Brilliant idea.. I cried writing mine.. and I cry reading the others… The IF journey is not a simple one…

39 Sass { 04.26.10 at 10:28 am }

Thank you for hosting such a brilliant project.

40 Miriam (Keiko!) { 04.26.10 at 11:04 am }

Now that I’ve posted my project, I feel so liberated, like I just let go so much of the baggage and crap that I’ve been holding onto for over a year. Thank you so much for working with RESOLVE to bring us such an amazing project.

~Keiko (b/c I’m not hiding behind my bloggy pseudonym anymore.)

41 Jenni { 04.26.10 at 1:18 pm }

Now that I’ve written mine, it’s going to be a while before I’m ready to read the other posts. I think this was a great idea, and I’m glad I participated.

42 Just Me { 04.26.10 at 1:40 pm }

I posted too. I posted a question that was not on your list, but easily fits into the first category… it’s one that’s been on my mind quite a bit, and I’m sure other couples dealing with IF often wonder as well. “What IF our infertility journey drives a wedge between my husband and I from which we can not recover?”

Thanks, Mel, for doing this and all the other amazing things you do for the IF community. :)

43 Heather { 04.26.10 at 3:24 pm }

I’ve been bawling and shaking since I hit “Post”…the lovely women I have “met”—the loving comments—the support. I wonder now why I was so afraid to put myself out there. I mean, I put my self out there often, but this is REALLY out there.

And, I love you. I love what you are doing for IF and for the world…and I wish more people had such good hearts. I want to grow up and be just like you. 😉

44 Adoptive Momma of Two { 04.26.10 at 3:29 pm }

I have participated in Project IF. I answered the questions What if I am never able to counter the thought “I had to buy a baby?” What if that doesn’t make me a real mother, in my eyes, or in anyone else’s (from Cherry)?

45 Kai { 04.26.10 at 3:34 pm }

I read this via another freind’s blog – and wanted to comment.
In 2009, for the Nanowrimo, I wrote a book/project called ‘Changes’. It started with some of those ‘what if’ questions and was really very poigniant to write and is currently under edits.
It’s a hard question to answer, but I’m always amazed by the grace of the community – no matter how tough things are. I’m not quite at that point yet, but we’ve had some issues so far, so I’m slowly finding places to read up on what our next steps are – so I just wanted to say ‘thank you’.

46 kathleen { 04.26.10 at 6:37 pm }

It is both sad and empowering to see all of these women and their partners affected by this life-changing journey in their lives. But I hope that this gathering will strengthen everyone as they continue forward!! Thank you for doing this!

47 lis { 04.26.10 at 6:41 pm }

not my most brilliant post yet, but surely one of the most heartfelt..
love to all y’all in da struggle

http://www.builtinbirthcontrol.com/2010/04/what-if.html

48 Kate { 04.26.10 at 7:50 pm }

just posted my “what if.” i’ve been anxious to share my blog with folks, because it is so personal and i know others have been dealing with things longer than i have, but reading other blogs have helped me. and i hope mine helps some of you!

49 Kate { 04.26.10 at 7:51 pm }

just posted my “what if.” i’ve been anxious to share my blog with folks, because it is so personal and i know others have been dealing with things longer than i have, but reading other blogs have helped me. and i hope mine helps some of you!

50 Amy { 04.26.10 at 8:41 pm }

Can someone please please please delete #49 (Amy)—it’s the wrong link, the #50 one is correct. Im so sorry, Im a blogging newbie.

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